Despite the growing attention being paid to "victims" in the framework of criminal proceedings, this attention does not seem to be meeting their needs under either national criminal justice systems or the international regime. In the latter, the difficulties encountered by the victims are aggravated by factors specifically arising from prosecution and punishment of mass crimes at the international level. This has prompted authors to point out that the prime purpose of criminal law is to convict or acquit the accused, and to suggest that the task of attending to the victims should perhaps be left to other entities.
War crimes are among the most serious crimes; that is why international courts and tribunals have jurisdiction to prosecute and punish them. The author considers that, when the perpetrators of war crimes are prosecuted and punished, criteria inherent to the rule of law such as those applied by the European Court of Human Rights (legality, proportionality, etc.) must be met.